Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NRSV)
During the July board meeting it was suggested that I present the congregation with an overview of the results of the listening conferences we held earlier this year. I have given a full report to the elders and have asked for their input and guidance as to how best to address the concerns and capitalize on the strengths of the congregation. The elders were chosen for this task because of our firm belief that changing structure without addressing the underlying spiritual concerns is ineffective, and not in keeping with our understanding of who God is. If you have any questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact any of the elders, board members, or Pastor Alex for more information.
- Strengthen our welcome by providing up-to-date information on the church, greeting before and after services, creating and publicizing more opportunities to engage in the life of the church, and keeping the facilities and services accessible to all people.
- One of the specific concerns on accessibility focused on the audio-visual elements of worship.
- MCC is a welcoming place where the congregation is non-judgmental. We are a place for all people to be welcomed, even those who come hurting and broken.
- Create more opportunities for the community at large to know who we are, and invite them to participate in the life of the congregation.
- There are concerns about only having a part-time pastor. A desire was expressed to have a full-time pastor.
- Placing an emphasis on education and training for the congregation as a whole, and for the Elders, Deacons, and Church Board.
- Providing different ways of participating in the church, fellowship events, float trips, mission trips, and small groups were a few of the ideas presented.
- Structuring ourselves to prevent burnout with planned breaks and an emphasis on Sabbath.
- Creating a culture of joy and generosity.
- Refocusing on the historic strengths of our youth, women’s, and men’s groups.
- MCC is a place of acceptance. The openness of the table, and willingness to engage questions are some of our strengths.
- Allow space for more people to participate in leading worship.
I believe there are some common themes in these comments, accessibility, involvement, and welcome, are a few which stand out to me. I look forward to seeing how God continues to work through our active pursuit of our faith in community.